McCracken County received the Economic Engine Award from the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) during the Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Protection of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue meeting this morning. The award is given to those counties in which tourism has had a significant impact on their local economy.

“I am honored to award McCracken County the Economic Engine Award for their extraordinary marketing and economic contributions to our state,” said KTIA CEO and President Hank Phillips. “The tourism related businesses of McCracken County have made an exceptional economic impact on their community, as well as the Commonwealth.”

Tourism in McCracken County has created more than 3,000 jobs and generated $367.8 million in economic impact, annually.

“McCracken County is full of rich culture and creativity. Our galleries, restaurants and live music experiences make our community a must-see tourist destination,” said Mayor Brandi Harless. “I am proud of our county’s tourism success and those who strive to better our community through the tourism industry.”

“The success of our travel and tourism businesses has notably influenced McCracken County’s economy, generating revenue and creating jobs within our community,” said Judge Executive Robert J. ‘Bob’ Leeper. “This kind of impact is one that positively affects those living in our community, our visitors and our future residents.”

Phillips presented the Economic Engine Award to the Executive Director of the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mary Hammond.

“It is an honor to be able to work alongside the residents of Paducah who embrace our community’s culture by sustaining the identity of who we are western Kentuckians,” said Hammond. “Working together to celebrate McCracken County’s rich heritage and creative culture results in new partnerships and economic opportunities that you can’t find anywhere else.”

“As the city of craft and folk art, Paducah is full of vibrant opportunity and surrounds visitors with the history and heritage of the Tennessee River,” said Rep. Steven Rudy, who is chairs the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee. “Our countless attractions make our home a Kentucky gem. Thank you to all of those who work to enhance the tourism of McCracken County.”

“It takes a united front to create and sustain the tourism success that McCracken County has brought us,” said Sen. Danny Carroll. “Offering a variety of options such as the Lewis & Clark Eastern Legacy Trail, performances at the Market House Theatre, cooking experiences at the Artisan Kitchen and more, our community has the ability to create a different experience for each visitor.”

“I would like to thank our small businesses and local artists for keeping the history and tradition of McCracken County alive,” said Rep. Gerald Watkins. “Their hard work fuels our tourism economy and attracts thousands of visitors across state lines to experience our rich heritage and tourism opportunities.”

“Our local restaurants, shops and events portray McCracken County’s southern charm that creates a one-of-a-kind experience for every visitor,” said Rep. Richard Heath. “Thank you to the KTIA for recognizing our community’s significant economic growth and the role that our travel-related businesses play in the success of Kentucky tourism.”

“McCracken County attracts visitors from all over the state and nation to our region,” said Rep. Will Coursey. “The tourism impact of McCracken county will continue to impact our region positively for many years to come.”

Economic Engine Award winners will continue to be awarded across the state to communities with large tourism-directed economic development and job creation.


About Kentucky Travel Industry Association

The Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) represents and serves the interests of Kentucky’s travel industry through four service cornerstones:  advocacy, education, information and business development. The approximately 422 organizations and 830 individuals from those organizations include attractions, convention & visitor bureaus, hotels, restaurants, state government agencies, universities, media and industry suppliers.


About the KTIA Economic Engine Awards

The Economic Engine Award is presented by KTIA to local communities across Kentucky that have a significant economic impact in their area from the local tourism industry. Winners are selected based on either one of two criteria: 1) total economic impact in the county derived from tourism, or 2) tourism jobs as a percentage of total jobs in the county.